New Delhi: On Saturday, The Delhi court rejected the bail plea of Alt News Co-founder and journalist Mohammad Zubair. The court sent the journalist to 14-day judicial custody. Zubair was arrested in a case related to an “objectionable tweet” he had posted in 2018 against a Hindu deity.
On June 27,33-year-old fact checker, Zubair was arrested by the Delhi Police and was remanded to one-day police custody. On June 28, his remand was increased by four days. Initially, Zubair was booked under Sections 153A (promoting enmity between religious groups) and 295 (injuring or defiling place of worship, with intent to insult the religion of any class) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Earlier today, The Delhi police on the police said that Pravda Media, the parent company of Alt News of which Zubair is the co-founder, received funds amounting to ₹2,31,933 from foreign countries. During the hearing in the court, Zubair’s counsel Vrinda Grover questioned the credibility of the complaint against him. “Who is this Twitter handle (user) ‘Hanuman Bhakt’? Does he want to create communal disharmony or strife in the country?” she asked.
During the hearing, public prosecutor Atul Shrivastava told the court that Zubair received donations from Pakistan and Syria, and the journalist is the director of Pravda Media. The public prosecutor claimed that money was also received from Singapore, UAE and Saudi Arabia. He added that the transactions needed to be investigated as there might be income tax violations.
Zubair’s lawyer argued that the money alleged to have been received in violation of FCRA didn’t go into his account. All money had gone into the account of Pravda Media. It is not a crime to be the director of the firm, she said.